Cobra Commander (1984 Mail-in)

Sometimes character variants seem like quick cash grabs or simple excuses to keep main characters on the pegs. These days, Snake Eyes, Duke and Storm Shadow make regular appearances in each new series. Back in the 80’s, Cobra Commander wouldn’t get a new figure on the shelves until 1987. However, this mail-in was available three years before. Unlike other early mail-ins like Major Bludd and Duke, this figure was never released carded.

The Commander donned his hood often in the comic and the Sunbow cartoon, and as a kid I wanted this figure badly. I never ordered it, even though it was available throughout most of the Real American Hero era. With his darker blue with gold trim, Cobra Commander’s uniform here more closely resembles his early comic hooded appearance than the Sunbow cartoon. The Sunbow Commander simply switched his helmet for the hood, usually keeping the lighter blue uniform color.

While the original Cobra Commander figure will always be the default version for me, I find a lot to like about this version. The hood has a more naturalistic sculpt than many later editions. I like the darker blue a lot, as it seems to be more regal than the lighter hue. There’s even a bit of red with his undershirt. The blue is also a close match for the deep blue of the original Cobra troopers and officers.

Hood or battle helmet: what say you?


  • When I read about this figure’s history on, I was surprised at how long he was available for mail-order–he was available well into 1993! That would make him the only pre-“balljoint”-neck figure available throughout the entirety of the original A Real American Hero line.

  • Steven B. Williams

    I got this figure back in the day, but I prefer the chrome faceplate version (which I never had until I got the modern version that came with the M.A.S.S. element).

  • I think that Cobra Commander looks better with the helmet. Not that the hood isn’t a cool look, but I like just like the helmet better.

  • I have two of this guy and he is great! Watch out for the gold pin stripes though, they tend to rub off with ease

  • I like the Battle Helmet better since it is more iconic. The hood is also cool, however. We first meet CC in G.I. Joe #1 where he uses both to great effect.

    The hood gives him more of an executioner-type look which could be intimidating in the early issues of the comic. By the time we get to the Sunbow cartoon, CC is portrayed as a far loonier buffoon and that’s the guy most kids grew up with, so the hood is a definite classic. The fact that this figure’s colors match his troopers and officers also adds a lot to its appeal.

  • I’ll always prefer the hooded Commander, since this was the only one I had growing up. Inherited mine from my brother I believe, I had no idea it was a mail order figure!

  • I always felt the hooded version was the more iconic, perhaps a bit of a KKK vibe. I also thought the darker blue with gold ttrim was more regal and I liked the way he could store his hairdrier on his back. This was my default CC until the v18 comic pack came along and I still have a fondness for it.

  • Hood.
    I think the real early Commander has the hood. More iconic and creepy.

  • I like ’em both!

  • I remember being dissapointed in this figure. I wanted the hood to be the same scale as in the cartoons and comics; longer and covering to the shoulders. Being designed short like this one gives it a Pac Man ghost look.

  • I loved this one as a kid. The dark colors are great. I got this figure directly from Hasbro as a kid from a very nice employee of theirs after I had written a list of my favorite characters.

    I remember opening up the package which along with a very nice letter also contained:
    A GI Joe baseball Cap
    A Tan GI Joe T-shirt
    Hooded Cobra Commander MISBa
    Kee-Haul with Patch MISBa
    Blue Sgt. Slaughter MISBa
    Super Trooper MISBa

    Sounds cheesy but I´ll never forget that as long as I lived 😉

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  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    I love the look of this Cobra Commander. This is the iconic version of Cobra Commander and I’m sure it was fun to play with. That said, I never had one even though I always wanted it. I knew it was available from Hasbro Direct, but for whatever reason, I never ordered it. Wish I had. I really liked the look of the talking Cobra Commander, but I was disappointed that the talking backpack wasn’t easily removable. This mail-away version and the black hooded version are without a doubt, my two favorite Cobra Commanders.


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